Covid-19: A letter from Australia


Mike Gordon is a Dyslexia Scotland volunteer, currently living in Australia.

When Donald Home claimed that Australia was a “Lucky Country” he was actually issuing a back-handed insult, because continued the quote with “A lucky country, run mainly by second rate people who share in its luck”. In other words, Australia’s natural bounty had made Australians fat, lazy and happy.

Today, I’m delighted to say that the current coronavirus has shown just how far Australia, and Australians, have advanced from that gloomy description and I’m very glad of it.

As I write this article, Australia is recording very few new cases. This has not been by accident, or luck, but by swift and decisive actions by government and people alike. We understood the threat, we learned what to do and we knuckled down to do it.

Soon after we learned of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, our Chief Medical Officer began advising that this was a pandemic in the making. Our government quickly closed down the flights from China, just before the Chinese (lunar) New Year. This act alone avoided over one million transits to/from China at a critical moment in the story.

In less than a month, all international flights stopped and domestic flights were severely curtailed. Around that same time, a four-level lockdown strategy was announced, and Australians were asked to familiarize themselves with the restriction before they were ever introduced.

Inevitably, cases did emerge and Levels One and Two were introduced nationwide. These introduced the ideas of ‘social distancing’, avoiding personal contact and staying home unless we had good reason to go out. Ultimately, new cases did spread from overseas and began spreading in the community.

That’s when Level three was introduced state-by-state and we saw pubs and non-essential shops and workplaces closing down. Level four, for the worst locations were introduced where none of us could leave the house, unless for food shopping (once per week) or immediate medical attention (including testing). We were truly locked down. No shopping, no outdoor exercise, no house parties, no family visits.

It was tough for everybody, but it worked. After 11 months of persistence, lockdowns are largely a thing of the past: Shops and pubs are opening, dancing has restarted, public exercise is now allowed and, most importantly for Australians, the beaches are open for the summer.

So, what did we learn? A few simple things…

  1. Act hard and early
  2. Stick to the rules
  3. Breaking the rules puts everybody at risk
  4. Each take care of ourselves and each other
  5. This too shall pass

I know the UK is doing it tough right now but I can assure you all, if you follow the rules, this too shall pass. My thoughts are with all of you. I wish you well and urge you all to take care of yourselves and your loved ones.

MIKE GORDON is a life coach and volunteer with Dyslexia Scotland. Although dyslexic, Mike has earned 3 degrees in science and business and has had two best-selling self-help books published. Mike believes his dyslexia has been a genuine enabler in his life: Isolation opens up imagination and creativity to him; while struggles with words have driven a sense of ‘rightness’ in what he says and does. Words are a blessing.